Boston Firsts is about everything (well, almost!) that happened first in Boston and changed life elsewhere: from the first lighthouse and public library to the first madam and ready-made suit. Boston-based journalist and essayist Lynda Morgenroth has written forty original essays on the city’s long history of innovation, from the colonial era to the recent past. These lively takes on Boston’s innovative history range from the first use of ether in publicly performed painless surgery to the first school desegregation court case to the one-and only-automatic bargain basement.
Consider this: Ice cut from Boston ponds and shipped to hot climates became a worldwide industry. A controversial kidney transplant between twin brothers marked the start of organ transplantation. Attempts to breed a belligerent fighting dog created the sweet-natured Boston terrier, the first dog breed developed in the U.S. The glorious Massachusetts 54th Regiment, led by a Boston Brahmin, was the first black army regiment in U.S history. First newspaper, novel, subway, telephone, gay marriage- the beat goes on.
Ranging from advances in science and engineering-like the smallpox inoculation and the Boston Harbor cleanup-to innovations in culture and society- Fannie Farmer’s cookbook, the YMCA, and Boston cream pie-the collection investigates, celebrates, and integrates America’s workshop of ideas.
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Morgenroth colors this thrilling history with hip, current observations and makes you notice just how vast and varied our accomplishments and inventions are. -Mopsy Strange Kennedy, Improper Bostonian
Published by Beacon Press Feb 23, 2016| 276 Pages| 5-1/2 x 8-1/4| ISBN 9780807071342